Thursday, February 7, 2008

In other news: Jamerican's carnival withdrawal returns

Somehow I thought I'd escape it this year but no. It's back! Every year since I came back to practicing Islam, I've suffered from carnival withdrawal. What is carnival withdrawal you ask? It's a combination of homesickness and a desire to participate in West Indian carnival production (i.e. permission to publically wuk up my waist to loud Soca music.)My friend emailed me a couple of weeks ago to tell me she was going to Trinidad carnival this year. I admit I was a little jealous but such is life. I'll get over it.

Some Muslims have told me that carnival is just a bunch of Jahiliyya (ignorance) and they are astounded that I would even miss it at all. They may be right but it doesn't change the way I feel. I grew up on Soca and Calypso. Once I became an adult I was breathing carnival; Caribana, Miami Carnival, Jamaica carnival and so on. I also loved going to the stage shows (like the one I posted above)which create the atmosphere of carnival. Maybe it's one of those things that you have to be a part of the culture (or have an appreciation of it) to understand.

As I've said in the past, I miss carnival not because I want to get drunk or display my nearly naked self in a carnival costume. I enjoyed dancing, eating some good Caribbean food, admiring the costumes and listening to music. In my view, carnival has always been a time to celebrate Caribbean culture.

It was a time to lose myself in the break away and just feel di riddim. Not think about anything else but enjoying di vibes.

But as I said, I'll get over it...eventually...some day. *Sigh*


Charles Hassan Ali Catchings said...

Boy do I have something to say about this. I CUT my DREADS because of some self-hating, wannabee Arabs! I could cut THEM right now! Yeah I know folks have said bad things about Carn but they don't know the history. Its not just about celebrating Carib culture but also what Africans contributed. You know this already but I feel I have to support you because I'm supporting me too. Its weird, some of those very Africans that went to the Carib were Muslim too. And a few years ago they found pieces of a Quran in Jamaica that they are still testing the dates on. I swear, if Pakistanis and Indians didn't eat curry they'd make that haram too.

Charles Hassan Ali Catchings said...

I'll never forget walking through the airport in MoBay and seeing a black muslimah jilbab-ed DOWN, running to keep up behind her husband while chasing a kid. It was July, Ju-ly, hottu danot and I couldn't say nothing cuz she wasn't with me but man, I hope she wisened up a bit. Couldn't have been my wife. In a place where people wear nothing, wearing something works just fine.

rahma said...

I feel the same about the christmas season. I know, I know, huge shirkfest, but come December time, I get this overwhelming longing to buy presents for family and friends, eat candy canes and sing [secular] carols.

btw, we had quite a few king cakes at the office this year, sent from lawyers in New Orleans. Are those part of a caribean carnival, or are they more NO specific?

muslimahlocs said...

yeah, my dh talks about missing the cultural aspects of carnival too. the family back home sends us pictures (of family only) so that helps him a bit. i went to mardi gras in nola before i was muslim but it is not hardly the same thing. close, but not quite.

Dynamite Soul said...

As salaamu alaikum sis,

We can have a happy medium. There are lots of Muslims in Trinidad. My husband is from there and we play soca from time to time. Since there have been Muslims there for quite a while, why don't you try to make contact with one and see how they manage carnival. They are Carribean too and I am thinking that they have found a way to balance things out. Trinidad & Tobago recognize our Eids and consider them national holidays. I am sure the Muslims there have found a way to incorporate their culture without compromising the deen. As I will go to see any random performance in the states without losing my deen.

Anyway, I thought about you when I saw this and thought that you would get a kick out of it!:

Jamerican Muslimah said...

Dynamite soul,

That's a good question. How do the muslims in Trinidad manage during carnival? I know a few people used to come up to Miami from Trinidad around that time. But not everyone can do that...

Anyhow, I used to lose my mind when "Faluma" came on! You want to talk about breaking word. Thanks for the post. Oh yeah and the tune "Swinging Engine". I used to wuk up on the floor to it.